Joe Gottfried Honored At His Retirement Ceremony

August 27, 2009 · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

Joe Gottfried was honored today for his 28 years of service to the University of South Alabama. University President Gordon Moulton hosted the ceremony held on Thursday afternoon at the Mitchell Center. Gottfried served the last 25 years at athletic director before he stepped down from this position on August 1st.

He is a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and would earn his master’s degree from Morehead State in 1969.

Coach Gottfried, a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and 1969 graduate of Morehead State where he received his master’s degree, came to USA as an Assistant Athletic Director in 1981. He served in that position through 1984 when he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director. Previous to USA he had successful coaching stints at Ashland and Southern Illinois. In addition to being in the USA Athletic Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Ashland College and Crestline (Ohio) High School Halls of Fame.

The Jaguars athletics experienced success both in competition as well as in the classroom under his direction. Plus he probably had the most impact on the school’s architecture in recent years, with the development and improvement of the athletic facilities. Gottfried was also very instrumental in adding football as the 17th program for the school. He initially lead discussions in an attempt to bring football to the USA campus in 2001 and was finally approved by the Board of Trustees on December 6, 2007.

Gottfrieds impact can be seen in the $30 million Mitchell Center, which is the home of the men’s and women’s basketball program as well as offices for athletic department presonnel, Stanky Field which underwent a $3.5 million renovation prior to the 2005 season, a 4,000 square-foot baseball clubhouse built in 1996, the intramural fields on the west side of campus, the softball complex built prior to the 2007 season which was the first-ever for the program, a new locker room for the softball and soccer programs, improvements to Jaguar Gymnasium, the Striplin Center, “The Cage” soccer facility, the USA Track Complex, the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts, the football field house and the football practice fields.

However just as important the athletics is the academics which also flourished under coach Gottfried. With the addition of football, the athletic department is at an all-time high of more than 300 student-athletes. In the latest Academic Progress Rate report released by the NCAA last month, 13 of 16 programs in competition at South Alabama scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. Also under coach Gottfried, 83% of South Alabama’s student-athletes that have completed their eligibility have graduated. There have been 37 individual student-athletes that have been named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List for maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA while 32 others have made the Sun Belt Acadeimc Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.

Also 75 South Alabama student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 of the schools coaches were selected the SBC Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. South Alabama has claimed the Vic Bubas Cup 10 times in a 13 year span. No school in league history has earned the award more than USA. South Alabama teams have won 104 league titles, appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, and have had 123 individual student-athletes qualify for NCAA postseason play. Including two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles. Plus, in baseball, 95 players have signed with prefessional teams including 17 who have made it to the Major Leagues.

Thank you coach Gottfried for your hard work and dedication to South Alabama Athletics, thank you for taking time to talk to students and fans, and thank you for putting South Alabama in the position continue to improve its level of competion for many years to come.

Dr. Joel Erdmann Named To Replace Gottfried As Athletic Director

July 20, 2009 · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

On Sunday afternoon, university president Gordon Moulton, introduced Dr. Joel Erdmann as the next athletic director for the University of South Alabama. Dr. Erdmann was one of over 50 applicants for the position after Joe Gottfried announced his upcoming retirement on August 1st.

Dr. Erdmann is 46 years old and has served as athletic director at Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana for the previous two years. Previous to that he served in the same capacity at Division II North Alabama for five years between 2002 and 2007. During his time at UNA, the football team won two Gulf South Conference Championships (2003, 2006) and Division II Regional Championship (2003). While at Southeastern Louisiana the school captured its first ever Southland Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy and also captured two conference championships while also playing an instrumental role in facility upgrades.

Three candidates were interviewed on campus in the previous few weeks, Erdmann, Brian Wickstrom from UTEP and Derrick Ramsey from Coppin State. President Moulton phoned Erdmann over the weekend and offered the job to him.

Erdmann has previous ties to the university. He held several positions at USA where he received his master’s degree in physical education. He was a graduate assistant coach for the baseball team, assistant to the athletics director, executive director of the Jaguar Athletic Club and other capacities including handling compliance issues, game operations and special projects. He was also a tenured associate professor in the College of Education.

Dr. Erdmann is a native of South Dakota where he graduated from South Dakota State . He earned his doctorate from Florida State University in Sports Managament and Athletic Administration in 1995.

President Moulton spoke about Dr. Erdmann at the press conference on Sunday by saying, “Joel Erdmann brings to the University of South Alabama the experience that comes from having led other athletic programs, as well as a familiarity with and appreciation for USA athletics stemming from his earlier leadership position here. Dr. Erdmann is the right person to take the torch from Joe Gottfried and lead University of South Alabama athletics to the next level.”

Following are Dr. Erdmann’s remarks about his selection to be USA’s fourth Athletic Director since the school was founded in 1963. “I appreciate President Moulton and everyone who was involved in the selection process. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this tradition-filled department and look forward to capitalizing on the addition of football while maintaining a high level of excellence throughout all sport programs. It is truly a privilege to be a member of the University of South Alabama and a memorable time to be a Jaguar.”

I hope this is the right hire for the position. I thought this would be a good time to hire a solid name to further strengthen the athletics department, however its also nice to have someone that seems to truly appreciate the University and has the excitement and energy to help lead it along. With Football set to kick off its first season in a mere 46 days, that enthusiasm and energy will definitely be tested quickly.

The funniest line to end the statement was from the usajaguars.com press release. The last line says, “A native of Bismarck, N.D., Erdmann is married to the former Tina Milton. The couple has three dogs and a cat.”

Go Jags!